IT talent is one of the most difficult types of talent to source if you’re not a specialist in the field. That’s why more and more IT staffing solutions are being established and dedicated solely to technology professionals.
It’s also why the large workforce companies already have specific departments for IT staffing solutions.
Unfortunately, not all IT staffing agencies are created equal.
Some are much more competent and have a much larger pool of skilled talent than others.
At the same time, successfully working with a staffing agency to quickly source top IT talent is a two-way street. The agency has to deliver—but you have to do your part, too.
What follows are 11 mistakes to avoid when working with IT staffing solutions.
1. Mistaking age for effectiveness.
As Tony Sherwood points out in his CyberSearch article, age doesn’t equal effectiveness.
There are staffing agencies that have been around for more than 30 years and claim extensive experience in placing IT talent.
However, technology advances—and is adopted—at a faster rate than ever before. This means that IT staffing services need to continuously ensure their talent pools consist of the right talent mix: one that includes a wide variety of talent to cover all of the different programming languages and areas of expertise.
2. Not researching the IT staffing solutions company.
Whether you’re dealing with an established firm or a new IT staffing agency, it’s critical to research the company.
- Who are their past and current clients?
- Do they have specific areas of expertise within the IT field?
- How many recruiters do they have, and how large is their talent pool?
Just like you do your homework before hiring a new employee, you need to research your staffing partner to make sure it’s all that it claims to be.
3. Neglecting to define your needs before contacting the staffing agency.
You need to be very clear about what services you expect from the staffing agency.
- Do you want the recruiters to handle the entire selection process for specific positions?
- Do you want the staffing firm to build a contingent workforce for you?
- To what extent do you want to be involved in the process?
- What is your budget, and how much time can you allocate?
Specifying your needs up front will make for a smoother collaboration.
4. Not asking the IT staffing firm for references.
When you’ve found an agency, you should always ask for references from previous clients.
What’s more: you should always follow up with these clients!
Create a list of questions, such as:
- How responsive did you find the agency to be?
- Were you satisfied with the quality of talent they suggested?
- Was there anything you didn’t like or that you think could have been done better?
Most companies are happy to share good experiences.
5. Forgetting to meet with the agents who’ll be handling your account.
It’s very important that you meet with the agent or agents who will be handling your account. Discuss the open positions with them.
Agents should appear confident and capable, plus, they should propose a plan of action in terms of targeting specific talent segments using aggregate job boards, email newsletters, and talent communities.
6. Not being clear with the IT recruiters on deadlines.
It’s crucial to be very clear on your timeline.
If you need a position to be filled yesterday, say so.
Otherwise, it’s highly likely that your account will be handled in the order that it came in, which could take days or even weeks, depending on how busy the agency is.
7. Failing to provide a comprehensive overview of job requirements.
Though IT staffing agents generally have a good understanding of the IT-related requirements of a job, they aren’t always in the know when it comes to industry-specific knowledge.
For example, a systems manager in the online banking space will usually be required to have some knowledge of the finance industry in order to translate the company’s needs into IT products.
In addition, if the position requires a lot of independent work or managing a team, these are things you have to mention up front. If you don’t, candidates who aren’t qualified are likely to make it to the interview step in the hiring process, which could be a huge waste of time for everyone involved.
8. Assuming the IT staffing solutions agency knows your company culture.
Some experts believe that a bad cultural fit is the greatest reason for failed hires.
Whether this is true or not, you’re more likely to have a successful hire if you’ve communicated clearly what your company culture is like and what the organization’s values are.
9. Forgetting to establish communication protocols.
Everybody’s busy—but of course, you want to know how the search is progressing.
However, you might not want to receive calls, or perhaps you’d rather get a phone call than an email.
Be clear about how, and how often, you want to be updated on progress.
10. Not being available for questions.
If you want your IT staffing agency to get results, you need to provide its people with the tools and information they need.
If you can’t be available for questions, appoint someone else on your team to be the go-to person.
11. Not being cooperative.
In most situations, your IT staffing agency will ask you to become more involved with the selection process after the initial candidate screenings and phone calls.
If you don’t return calls or emails, or if you decline onsite interviews, you’re not helping.
If you’re super busy, then discuss a more drawn-out timeline, or suggest another company representative who can coordinate the selection process.
Avoid these 11 mistakes, and you’ll be well on your way to working effectively with your next IT staffing solutions agency. And that’s a relationship worth building right for the future of your business!